I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California to my two loving parents. I am an older brother to my sister who is two years younger than me. We lived in a middle-class home all of my life with a cat and a dog. As a young kid, I was never neglected and was always provided with anything that I had needed. Growing up, I had always enjoyed video games, swimming, skateboarding, riding bikes, and playing sports with my friends.
On paper, it would look to be a perfect childhood, but for some reason that I was never able to understand, I always had this feeling that I did not belong, that I was different, that I had no purpose, and that there was something wrong with me. I remember carrying these feelings with me as a child and all the way throughout my life. In the sixth grade I had surgery on my left foot, then as soon as I had recovered from that, I had the same surgery on my right foot.
This process took up just about 2 years of my life and amplified all of the negative feelings that I had about myself. I returned to junior high and fit in with all of the kids that would skateboard after school. These kids were already into smoking marijuana and drinking and I had never done either of those, in fact, I was opposed to it. Eventually, I figured I would test the waters with smoking marijuana, and I loved it. I instantly wanted to try it out in any kind of form I could and my use of it escalated very rapidly. One week later I had stolen a bottle of liquor from my parents and snuck out that night to meet up with my buddies. We drank the whole thing and smoked some marijuana, then went out stealing from unlocked cars in the neighborhood.
All of this seemed so unfathomable to me just a month prior, but it gave me a rush and a sense of freedom that I loved. Throughout high school, my using progressed more and more with each year that had passed. By Freshman year I was selling marijuana and taking pills. By Sophomore year, I was selling pills, marijuana, and doing cocaine. By Junior year I was selling marijuana, pills, cocaine, and doing meth and psychedelics. By Senior year I had done just about every kind of drug other than heroin and PCP. This whole time I had a job, a great girlfriend for 3 years, and had graduated high school early with good grades.
Once again, on paper, everything looked to be fine. I was completely lost and miserable inside. I had attempted suicide multiple times and had many close calls with the police. I was in acceptance of the fact that I would not live to see the age of 25. Then I found heroin, and that’s when things really jumped off the deep end. It progressed so rapidly and instantly became the only drug that I wanted to do. Towards the end, I was unable to go six hours without using and had sold nearly everything that I owned, along with things that I had stolen from family, friends, and strangers. I could not comprehend how I had managed to drive my life to this point. I was literally dying for a way out.
Fortunately enough I was given the option go to a structured sober living, little did I know that my life was about to change radically for the better. I was given a whole lot of love and direction, and being so badly beaten into a state of willingness by my addiction, I soaked it all up. I got a sponsor and began working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I learned to let go of all of the things that I had thought that I did or did not need, want, or like.
Ultimately, I was helped along the way to change into the man that I am today. I no longer feel consistently empty, purposeless, or depressed. Those feelings have been replaced with joy, confidence, and hope. I am now able to be a good friend, employee, and member of society. I am able to be a good son to my parents and a good brother to my sister. I have been sober for just over one year and I love my life today, a feat that seemed to be unfathomable a year ago. Things are not always perfect, but I have been given tools to be able to get through anything that comes my way in life. I am content with my life and I am excited for the future. I have complete faith that anyone can get sober and change their life so long as they are open to suggestion and willing to go to any length in order to do so. That is from my own experience, strength, and hope.